The Big Knife Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 11 2012

Set in gritty, decadent postwar Hollywood, Clifford Odets's 1949 drama centers on Charlie Castle, a hard-boozing movie star with a rocky marriage. Or that's who it's supposed to center on, anyway. In Michael Menendian's dynamic staging, the colorful bit players out-dazzle the star. JoAnn Montemurro plays henpecking gossip columnist Patty Benedict with acerbic might. Jen Short could spark chemistry with an umbrella stand as sizzling sexpot Connie Bliss. And as an overbearing producer who schemes to get Castle to renew his studio contract, Chuck Spencer oozes subtle despicableness. By contrast, Jason Huysman's Castle comes across as blurry and disjointed. I'm not sure whether the fault lies in the script or the acting, but it leaves an uncomfortable hole in the middle of an otherwise exceptional show. —Keith Griffith

Price: $22-$45

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